Dark money is an avenue that politicians in the USA use to circumvent the disclosure requirements instituted by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The 1970 Watergate scandal necessitated the enactment of federal laws that brought forth limits on political contributions. Dark money groups are, therefore, utilized by large donors to hide the exact amount of money they give to politicians for their campaigns.
Dark Money Definition
The meaning of dark money is given as the funds that undisclosed donors give non-profit organizations which are then used to facilitate election campaigns and influence the elections. There is no limitation to the amount of cash that these organizations can receive.
Additionally, they are not legally obligated to disclose the parties that gave them finances. This latter factor leads to the opaqueness, thereby making dark money the best avenue for donors.
It is worth noting that dark money groups are neither political parties nor the candidate committees. They are outsider organizations. For this reason, they are regulated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and not the FEC.
Also, even though the practices to evade federal requirements started in the 1970s, the term ‘dark money’ was coined in 2010 by campaign finance observers working for Sunlight Foundation. It was later popularized by Jane Mayer in her 2016 book titled “Dark Money: the hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right.”
Although the term originated in the USA, it has permeated UK politics. In 2019, the Electoral Commission fined a Scottish group for failing to disclose the source of more than £200,000 it had donated.
Dark Money Reviews
Dark money is a problem because of a number of reasons. Firstly, it complicates the process of determining whether politicians have violated the campaign finance law. Notably, there are restrictions with regard to the legal limit. Also, foreign contributors are not allowed to contribute to election campaigns.
The unavailability of this information, therefore, makes it hard for opponents, regulators, and journalists to find grounds for violations.
Secondly, scandalous billionaires use dark money groups as a channel of funding campaigns. If they did it in the open, they would taint politicians’ reputations. Dark money, therefore, ensures a win-win situation for politicians who want the funds and the contributors who intend to influence elections.
Thirdly, the use of dark money groups hides vital information from the voters. When the contributors are known, it enables voters to determine where the interests of a particular candidate lie and whether it aligns with their preferences. It also enables them to fact-check the politicians’ claims about who their financial backers are. Hence, the lack of this information is detrimental.
Nonetheless, there are solutions. Laws can be enacted which seal the existing loopholes in the existing federal laws.
Conclusion For Dark Money
Dark money is defined as the funds used in political campaigns whose donors are not disclosed. This cash is given to non-profit groups which are regulated by the IRS and not the FEC. It is worth noting that dark money is a problem in many ways and should, therefore, be addressed through legislation.
Dark money is the funds that are given to non-profit organizations from unknown investors. The main purpose of such donations is the influence on elections.
There are some non-profit organizations that are regulated by Internal Revenue Services. Such organizations may disclose their spendings within paying taxes. This process might be delayed for some years, so dark money groups become anonymous donors for political organizations.